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Ryan Hamman | Notre Dame Athletics | April 28, 2018

Notre Dame upsets No. 2 Duke, for spot in ACC championship

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. –– For the third time in the last five seasons, No. 16 Notre Dame will play for the Atlantic Coast Conference championship title. The Irish defeated No. 2 Duke in the semifinals of the tournament 14-11 at Klöckner Stadium on Friday evening.

Junior attackman Ryder Garnsey turned in a masterful performance, scoring a game-high five goals to pace the Irish. Garnsey was not the only Notre Dame player to register a hat trick on Friday, as junior Brendan Gleason and sophomore midfielder Bryan Costabile each posted three goals. Senior Mikey Wynne added two goals and Brian Willetts scored once to cap off the best attacking performances of the season for Notre Dame.

On the defensive side, the Irish caused four turnovers compared to just two for the Blue Devils and won the ground ball battle 30-29. Friday's game marked just the second time all season that Duke allowed its opponent to record more ground balls than the Blue Devils. The Irish also received a strong performance from freshman goalie Matt Schmidt, who made a season-high 10 saves.

MEN'S LACROSSE: Friday's scoreboard | Inside Lacrosse Top 25

The Irish will play the winner of the other semifinal game between Syracuse and Virginia in the title game on Sunday, April 29, in Charlottesville, Virginia, at Klöckner Stadium. The game will air live on ESPNU at noon.

How It Happened

The Irish wasted no time getting the attack going against the top-ranked Blue Devils, scoring two goals in the opening four minutes of play. Garnsey scored both of the goals to put Notre Dame on top 2-0. Duke answered back with one goal in the opening 15 minutes to make the score 2-1 after the first quarter of play.

The beginning of the second quarter was the Costabile show, as the sophomore scored three goals in the first six minutes of the stanza to open up a four-goal cushion at 5-1 with 9:18 left in the half. The third goal was remarkable, as Costabile wrapped around the back of the cage and fired off a beautiful behind-the-back shot past the Duke keeper to complete his hat trick.

Duke ended the Irish 3-0 run with a goal of its own to cut the lead 5-2 but Notre Dame responded with a goal right in front of the crease from Wynne to make the score 6-2. Unfortunately for the Irish, the Blue Devils scored twice in the final 40 seconds of the half, giving Notre Dame a 6-4 lead heading into the break.

Gleason struck in the first minute of the second half to push the Notre Dame lead back to three at 7-4 but then the Duke attack found a groove and scored three straight goals to level the score at 7-7 with 5:42 left in the quarter. The Irish managed to retake the lead right before the end of the quarter at 8-7. Gleason faked and then scored with 0.6 left on the clock to give Notre Dame the one-goal advantage heading into the fourth.

The Irish continued the trend of scoring first in every quarter by finding the back of the net with 12:33 remaining in the game to push the lead back to two at 9-7. Duke responded immediately. The Blue Devils scored three times in a span of a little more than two minutes to take thier first lead of the game with 9:22 remaining.

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However, the Irish were not going to be denied. Wynne collected a pass from Garnsey and scored with under eight minutes left on the clock to level the game at 10-10. The Notre Dame attack then erupted, scoring three more unanswered goals, two by Garnsey and one by Willetts, to all but seal the game at 13-10 with 1:52 left on the clock. Both Duke and Notre Dame scored one more goal in the final two minutes to give Notre Dame the 14-11 victory, punching its ticket to Sunday's title game for the second straight season.

Notre Dame player of the game

Garnsey played his best game of the season for the Irish, scoring five goals to lead the attack. The junior set the tone from the opening whistle with his two goals in the first four minutes and also secured the victory, scoring the go-ahead goal at 11-10 and then tacking on an insurance goal with 2:50 to play. Garnsey's six points mark a season high.

Notre Dame stat of the game

The Irish committed just seven turnovers on the evening, representing the low mark for the season. The last time Notre Dame recorded seven or fewer turnover was against Duke on April 29, 2016.

Notre Dame notes

  • Notre Dame will make its third appearance in the ACC championship final for the third time in the five years it has competed in the league.
  • The Irish improve to 4-3 in the ACC championship in program history.
  • Notre Dame splits the season series with the Blue Devils and has defeated Duke in the semifinal round of each of the last two ACC championships.
  • The 14 goals are the most the Irish have scored in a game this season.
  • Garnsey notched his fifth multi-goal game of the 2018 campaign and third hat trick of the year.
  • Costabile's hat trick was the sophomore's fourth of the season.
  • Gleason now has three hat tricks in the 2018 campaign.
  • The Irish improve to 6-0 in games that Gleason scores at least one goal.
  • With two goals on Friday, Wynne has 122 goals in his career to rank fourth in the program record book.
  • Garnsey, Jack Kielty and John Sexton led the Irish in ground balls with four apiece.

Up next

The Irish have a day off before playing the winner of the Syracuse/Virginia in the title game on Sunday, April 29 at Klöckner Stadium in Charlottesville, Virginia. The game will air live on ESPNU at noon.